For those that subscribe,

It has been WAY too long since I last posted. I will do my best to keep issues coming, but help me keep accountable. If you have questions or want opinions on stuff, comment or email me, and I’ll make a post of it. With that, on to the topic…

Praise report for you all to chew on…the PSMA worship team is really coming together and being what I call ‘successful.’ So here is my question to you:

What determines the success of a worship team? Is it the ability to nail the technicalities of music and play together? Is it congregational response? Is it attitudes towards one another?

Obviously, not one answer fits all. There are many things that will make a worship team successful. At the same time, there are many things that can draw a team to failure. Even though the reasons may vary, I believe that it is rooted in one core issue, which is selfishness.

It sounds a little like a Sunday school answer, I know. So, to confuse things a little more, we’ll go through it in detail. Selfishness shows itself in a few ways, the most prominent being to play for your own glory. You want people to notice how awesome your pipes are, or how good your solo sounded. While there isn’t anything wrong with playing well, there IS something wrong with playing for yourself. Your music is your offering, and so you need to treat it that way. The purpose of your music is not to lift you up, even though that might/will come without you trying. Just because people compliment your playing doesn’t mean that you are doing anything terribly wrong…it just means that you are playing well. If you are seeking the affirmation of the people and playing well for their sake, your heart is in the wrong spot. Even if you are in a band that isn’t a church worship team, do all things to the glory of God.

Another facet is that of simply not listening to those around you. Playing with other people is often confused with playing in the same room as other people. For the most part, we are good at listening to one another when it comes to starting a song, and maybe ending it. But throughout, the tendency is to do your own thing, and not latch on to and groove with the rest of the band. Now, you don’t want to lose focus on what you are doing, but you must know what is going on around you. You have to know what every single member of your band is doing, at any given time, or else you are just playing in the same room. That is a big part of musicianship that I’m sure most of us are far from perfecting. Try it next time at practice. Begin to anticipate what each instrument will do at a given moment, and try and play off of that. If you can tell the lead guitarist is making a move towards a small solo, maybe its time you backed off and stuck with something more basic to back him/her up. For guitarists especially, listen to the high hat on the drums. It will be your best indicator/foundation of a rhythm to play, if any is required. If the pianist is playing fairly intricate notes, you probably shouldn’t do the same thing and make things more complex. It tends to muddy up the sound and add confusion if everybody is trying to do a solo at once! Even two instruments at once is bad enough.

The basic lesson with this is to know your place. Know it musically. Know when you can surge and ‘take the limelight’, and when to back off. Know that your place as a worshiping member of the congregation is just that. You are no better than anyone in the congregation. You are all there to worship the Lord, and that is all. Should the focus not be on Him, we have some work to do!

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